Analysis

James Mattis’ national defence strategy and Australia

James Mattis’ national defence strategy and Australia

By Kim Beazley* Commentary on the character of our security relationship with the US rarely examines what type of ally Australia is. We first, and often exclusively, focus on what type of ally the US is. However, the best way to calculate the impact of US policy on us—as revealed in Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ summary of the national defense strategy (NDS)—is to start with us. We’re a unique ally. For the entirety of the Cold War and since, we alone of substantial US allies have contemplated no threat to our existence or our major interests that would oblige the US to consider an existential threat to itself as it assists us. None of its major northern hemisphere allies offer that comfort. We’re also among the few allies of the US determined to defend themselves. This raises the threshold of American obligation further. We’re prepared in the South Pacific…

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‘Leadership needed to restore US naval readiness’

The Strategic Readiness Review provides a good start for institutional reflection and debate as the U.S. Navy moves forward in addressing warfighting readiness. However, trying to address the complex “system of systems” contributing to readiness in 80 pages is a daunting task.

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Should Australia pursue a defence export industry?

Should Australia pursue a defence export industry?

Since the Government announced that Australia would pursue a defence export industry, arising from its earlier decision to embark upon a continuous naval ship-building program debate has raged about its morality and practicality. In these two articles published in the mainstream media, Fairfax columnist Nicholas Stuart argues that Australia will find it impossible to become among the top 10 defence exporters, and Raytheon managing director Michael Ward responds as to why Australia can and should.

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Nulka: Australia’s leading defence export

Nulka: Australia’s leading defence export

When three American warships and a merchant vessel were attacked by cruise missiles off the coast of Yemen in 2016, their crews fired off a series of defensive systems which diverted some of the missiles and brought the others down. One of those systems, and key elements of another, were developed in Australia by scientists and engineers who are producing some of the world’s most advanced targeting devices.

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US and China: status quo v revisionist

By Graeme Dobell* The US is the essential status quo power, led by a revisionist president. China loves the current status quo, while liking how the tide of change flows its way. The labels ‘status quo’ and ‘revisionist’ suddenly matter in relations between the top two nations. The US has branded China a revisionist power and announced that conflict with China is a bigger threat than terrorism.

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Major parties differ on attitude to China

By Alexander Trauth-Goik*

As the Australian Parliament opened for 2018 this week, the major parties began another year of spirited and often combative debate. What continues to be lacking, however, is substantial foreign policy debate. Visible divisions between the major parties over the direction of Australian foreign policy are observable. Most significantly, the Coalition and Labor remain at odds over their perception and approach towards China.

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A ‘clever’ Australia needs a larger, more potent navy

A ‘clever’ Australia needs a larger, more potent navy

By Richard Menhinick*

In an interview in Australian Foreign Affairs, Paul Keating noted that China under Xi Jinping was looking to craft a new form of global governance, rejecting the notion of China as a strategic client of the US. Keating also talked about our need to be clever. He observed that ‘before the Industrial Revolution, China was on the top of the system and had a tributary system of states which bowed and genuflected to them. Let’s hope we’re not going to be bowing and genuflecting.’ He went on to say that ‘self-reliance and self-help should be the keynote of our foreign policy’. In my view, that needs to expand to defence policy as well.

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